Earlier this week, my girlfriend and I took a trip to Las Vegas.
In an effort to make every dime count, we downloaded an app called MyVegas.
MyVegas is a pair of apps for Facebook, iPhone, and Android where you play blackjack or the slot machines with virtual cash — and earn real rewards, like meals and show tickets, at some of Las Vegas’ biggest hotels and resorts.
With less than a month of playing MyVegas, and some smart strategising, we earned enough of the game’s “loyalty points” to save around $US120 on our Vegas vacation. If you’re forewarned, you can save even more.
Here’s how it works.
There are two different MyVegas games for you to choose from. MyVegas slots, pictured here, gives you a choice of slot machines to choose from. Most of them are themed around real-world Vegas casinos, like New York New York. Others are digital versions of real slot machines, like China Mystery. There's even one called 'Caddyshaq' that's themed around Shaquille O'Neal playing golf.
And then there's MyVegas Blackjack. And if you ever run out, you use real money to buy more. A better option is to go to the MyVegas Facebook page, which gives out codes for 5,000 chips every day.
The more you play, and the bigger you bet, the more 'loyalty points' you earn. You get bonuses on the virtual chips and loyalty for every consecutive day that you play.
The easiest way to earn loyalty points is to complete the game's missions, which you get from a Candy Crush Saga-style game board. They tend to be along the lines of, 'find forty-five dolphin icons on the Mirage slot machine.'
Here's another tip: You earn the most loyalty if you play it on Facebook, and the least if you play it on Android. According to the MyVegas FAQ, it has to do with rules on each App Store for how they handle giveaways. Just make sure you avoid any of the 'Share' buttons on the Facebook versions if you don't want to spam your friends.
A good hack for Android users is that you get all the loyalty points you deserve if you download MyVegas from the Amazon Appstore, instead of the official Google Play market.
Most of the MyVegas rewards are for MGM Resorts casinos, which include the MGM Grand, New York New York, and Excalibur, where we stayed.
You can swap your loyalty points for real-life rewards straight from the store. The rewards themselves are pretty great, including free appetizers, free show tickets, and discounts on hotel fares.
Just read each reward's fine print and be careful of 'gotchas.' A lot of the best rewards only allow you to use three in a 60-day period. We decided that the two-for-one buffets were the best value, considering our limited time to play and the fact that we could only use three rewards each. My girlfriend even made a spreadsheet to track it.
Once you get to Las Vegas, you need to go to an MGM casino (not that hard) and find the 'Mlife Player's Club' to sign up for the real-life Mlife loyalty program. Give them the emailed confirmation.
The Mlife card is actually super handy, and lets you earn all kinds of goodies like free slot credit the more you spend at the casino. My morning Starbucks, as overpriced as it was in a Vegas hotel, put more points on my account.
A big caveat here is that you need to go to each casino's Mlife desk to active the appropriate reward. You have to go to the Bellagio Mlife Player's Club to activate a coupon for the Bellagio buffet, and so on. It's annoying, but not a dealbreaker given the savings.
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